The Paddler magazine asked 26 world-class sea kayakers two questions, “Which is your favourite location and why?” Christopher Lockyer, Erin Bastian, Frode Wiggen, Gordon Brown and Greg Paquin gave us their answers and more to follow over the next week…
“Newfoundland is a province rich in history and a strong connection to the sea. The ocean was a means of income, recreation and exploration.
“Its rugged shore are littered with ghost towns from the past. Many of these towns we abandoned and left as if there was a natural disaster. Clothing still hangs in the closets and the beds are still made. Visiting these areas is a peek into the past as well as an eerie view of the ways people used to live in these communities.
“I have a special place in my heart for Newfoundland as it is the place that I grew up as a child with both my parents being bore in Newfoundland when it was still part of the United Kingdom. A world-class paddling destination that would thrill any sea paddler.”
Scotland, United Kingdom
“Hundreds of islands to explore. Crystal clear water, teaming with wildlife. The cliffs and caves add another dimension to Scottish sea kayaking. I’ve paddled through subterranean passages over 200 metres long, tunnels which cut through sea stacks and rounded headlands decorated with every possible size of sea arch.
“You can find excitement and relaxation, high seas and flat calm. The wildlife never fails to take my breath away. Colonies of sea birds perch chaotically in cliff cities, dolphins and basking sharks glide past only metres away from you kayak and on a low spring tide you can explore shore lines riddled with marine creatures.
“I love to travel with my kayak but I can’t say there are many places that beat the wonders of Scotland.”
Bergsfjorden Senja, Norway
“This is our favourite place to paddle, no doubt! You have easy access from several places – just park your car, drag the kayak 30 metres and you are on the water!
“Talking about the water, it’s crystal clear! Some people think this is the Bahamas when they see the photos, until they see the snow on the mountain tops. The colour on the water changes with the weather and season. In the winter it becomes dark green and blue – it’s magic.
“Because of the 99 islets and reefs in the archipelago, you can either have a calm and easy day on flat water or you can paddle on the outside to get big water surfs and rock hopping – it’s up to you. Eat your lunch on one of many beaches with white sand and green water while enjoying stunning mountains. Most likely you will see a curious seal and a eagle or two.
“In the summer is does not matter what time you paddle, the sun never goes down. In the winter you can paddle with Humpback whales and Orcas and be sure to look into the sky when you strap your kayak on the roof of your car, you might see northern light if you are lucky. “All this at one place. Could you ask for more? “See you on the water.”
Photos: Wivian Wiggen
Isle of Skye, Scotland, United Kingdom
“My most favourite place to kayak on the oceans of the earth has to be the Isle of Skye. I am fortunate to be able to live and work on the sea and have travelled most of the world doing just that.
“What I love about Skye is the absolute variety of paddling that exists here. From farmland to vertical rock to mountains to tide races to caves, stacks and arches to surf beaches and reefs… It really does have everything in a compact area. Oh… it also has a distillery.”
Long and Fishers Island, New England, USA
“One of my favourite paddling grounds is my back yard or my home waters. Shouldn’t any paddler position themselves in a dynamic playground? My home waters are the entrances to Long Island and Fishers Island Sounds in southern New England.
“It looks like a placid basin of water, but take another look. Its entrances look like the bottom of funnel and look again and you will see what the glaciers left behind – huge sea bed ridges, otherwise called Terminal Moraines that form numerous over falls and tidal races. Our tidal ranges are not huge, but with the restrictions both vertical and horizontal we certainly have some flow moving around.
“These coupled with Atlantic swell and approaching weather fronts and systems, and you have quite a playground. All the more reason to be a BCU/UKCC coach in these waters, helping paddlers stay safe by promoting a high level of seamanship, personal paddling skills and leadership.”
Photos: Jan Bloch Photography